Panning the Stream: Mikagura School Suite, Triage X, Wish Upon the Pleiades, Etotama

Must’ve been a hard winter, given how puny this spring crop looks.

We’re getting dangerously close to the end of the licensed spring premieres, and pickins remain slim. It’s not even that most of them are terrible (although Triage X very much is)—they’re just run-of-the-mill, safe, and uninspired. Still, we’ve got one that’s a little off the beaten path, so we can talk about that in some detail, at least. Hit the jump for some light potential and a trio of “no, thank you”s.

Mikagura School Suite (Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku)

Studio: Dogakobo
Based On:
The light novels by Last Note., which are in turn inspired by Vocaloid songs. (Wow, that makes this show sound so much worse than it is.)
Streaming On:
Funimation (U.S./Canada)

In a Sentence: Slacker and sex-crazed teen Ichinomiya Eruna enrolls at the prestigious Mikagura Academy, where your status is determined by your club, and your club’s status is determined by school-sanctioned battles.

How was it? Clumsily written but energetic in its execution.

Overall

I can’t decide if I’m giving this a full meet ‘n’ greet because I actually liked it, or because I just desperately wanted there to be one meet ‘n’ greet in this post and this was the best one I had. Either way, my feelings about Mikagura are pretty torn. On the one hand, it’s kinda refreshing to have a sex-crazed protagonist who’s both a girl and a lesbian, but on the other, the joke got stale around the mid-point as Eruna began to feel less like a nifty genre subversion and more like a bad stereotype. The whole premiere is basically a string of jokes and gags, and while some of them land, quite a few of them don’t, and the writer is so insecure that instead of allowing the joke to miss and move on, they keep screaming it at you so that it becomes not only unfunny, but kind of annoying.

All that being said, Mikagura makes up for its trying-too-hard script with nonstop energy and a somewhat infectious sense of fun. Director Iwasaki Tarou (One Week Friends) keeps the camera moving and full of vivid, expressive faces, the animation is frequently dynamic and pleasant to watch, and the voice actors (particularly Eruna’s Kimura Juri, fresh off her role as Shirobako’s Miyamori Aoi) deliver their lines with gleeful abandon. There’s enough style here that, if the story and characters can hook me with even a little substance or charm, I could see this being a light, enjoyable addition to the lineup. It’s not there yet, but I’m willing to give it another episode or two to see where it goes.

Dropped

Triage X

You know what could have been fun? A trashy C-movie-style shoot-em-up filled with bombshell badasses and hilariously stupid medical crime-fighting speeches. You know what isn’t fun? Nonstop fanservice, a bunch of women who are probably suffering from some severe back pain, friggin’ high school protagonists again, and bad guys whose primary method of showing you they’re SUPEREVIL is sexually assaulting women. Dammit, Anime, why couldn’t you just give me my trashy C-movie?

Wish Upon the Pleiades (Houkago no Pleiades)

A fairly standard magical girl show featuring a quintet of cute girls, an octopus alien, and something with car parts because Subaru is sponsoring the crap out of this series. The writing is competent and the girls aren’t immediately saccharine and insufferable (a common issue for me with cute-girl series). The problem is that the story doesn’t have anything new or unique to make it worth checking out. Just kind of dull, I s’pose. Maybe if I was twelve… but even then, probably not.

Etotama

As far as harem shows go, this one’s better than most recent ones, with a mildly amusing male protagonist, toned-down fanservice, and a neat supernatural premise (lady Zodiac spirits and the cat spirit who longs to be one of them). But the cat-girl grated on me, the self-aware meta-humor smacked of smugness, and the “plot” (something about how the MC can power up the Zodiac spirits with compliments?) isn’t exactly a gripping one. If you’re going to watch one show with CG chibi anthropomorphic animal battles this season, you should really make it Show by Rock instead.

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